NL: But in a society like India, how can we ignore the divisiveness, the poverty?
Pamuk: You don’t ignore it. It is part of the picture, but it’s not the only thing. That’s how I see it. My kind of novel is about balancing of the whole picture. I think… I always argue that living in a country with political and economic problems doesn’t mean that you have to write cheap and journalistic fiction. Tolstoy and Dostoevsky wrote their fiction in a country where there were such problems but they wrote their fiction well. It’s not the job of fiction to solve political problems. That joy of writing books in most political situations – for example living in Afghanistan and you still want to write like Proust – it’s not at all a bad thing, please try to do it, boy! In the end you would not be a political person. You would be writing something very interesting, I would say, please trust the autonomy of literature, it will give you back the whole world – not only a sterile autonomy.